Saturday, December 20, 2008

Restless Night ... Day of Resolute Decision -- Black

Tear streaks glistened on Joseph’s rugged cheeks, lit by silver-blue moonbeams streaming through openings in window shutters, as he lay and silently grieved. And prayed ... prayed deeply in the silence, while clamouring, conflicting thoughts ricocheted with endless noise in his brain. Finally, tired, and heart-weary, he drifted off to sleep.

It was during that much-needed sleep, when his conscious efforts to sort things out were finally brought to a point of quietude and rest, that an angel of the Lord spoke to him, informed, and instructed him. Comforted him.

"Joseph son of David," the angel began, "do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

He awoke, pulse racing. And, he remembered every detail. This was not a fading dream. Not a hazy thing, fast evaporating like the morning mist. There would be no second-guessing. Joseph was satisfied–this message was from God, and he knew exactly what he must do, and would not delay to do it.

Sobbing now, overcome with relief, and overflowing with love and gratitude, the kindly carpenter felt comforted. And thought it odd that he also had a sense of indefinable expectancy, knowing in his heart beyond all shadow of doubt that Mary was innocent of any wrongdoing; that her pregnancy was by the direct intervention and favour of God, and that he, Joseph, a humble carpenter– together with his beloved Mary–had a part to play in the Lord God’s Divine Plan.

Lifting his face to heaven, Joseph drew a deep, steadying breath–a welcome sigh, really. He then drew the back of his hand over the tears of relief and joy escaping from his eyes, rose from his bed, and readied himself to go face a family, a world, and a culture that he suspected wouldn’t understand–or even believe, were he to attempt to explain it to them.

But he was resolute. Decisive.
He would go and see Mary. Share His experience and relief. She would understand. She was already dealing with the precious knowledge of God’s gracious work in her life, and the emotional pain of wagging tongues, and judgmental glances.

Despite the potential for his being maligned and misunderstood, even by those of his own family, Joseph faithfully followed through on his resolve, taking Mary home as his wife. And, after she delivered the Christ Child in the humble circumstances of a crude shelter in Bethlehem, he named Him Jesus –Yeshua –the Lord is Salvation, for "he shall save His people from their sins"–and still does!

Resolute and decisive ... Characteristics of our Lord Jesus.
He was ready and willing to do what He had to do ...
What He came to do in His redemptive mission.
And aren’t we grateful and glad?

The Christ Child grew in favour with God and people.
He understood ...
Knew why He came.
To be Immanuel–God present with us.
To make, through His life and ministry, His Father known.
To make through His death, His soul an offering for sin.
Through His resurrection, ascension, and glorification,
to bring sinners-turned saints home to eternal glory
as His brothers and sisters by grace.

Thank you for joining me in this meditation (a segment abbreviated and adapted from my Advent Three message for last Sunday–Dec. 14, ‘08).

A Very Blessed Christmas to You All!

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